A Dose Of Hope In A Tasseled Hat

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Feeling discouraged?

Fearful? Anxious?

Wondering how we’ll cope with the world’s onslaught of problems and its dizzying pace of change?

We have a cure — which you probably don’t need if you were lucky enough to attend the graduation ceremonies staged this week in schools all around Rim Country.

But if you missed those ceremonies, with the bright kids, proud parents, long-suffering siblings, earnest speakers and great glitter of hope — just take a minute to page through the gradation tab you’ll find in today’s issue.

Read about the extraordinary achievements of these students — our best and brightest hope. Then flip through the pages of pictures. What a great bunch.

We’ve been keeping track of these kids for years now. They’ve fielded championship teams, honored the dead of Pearl Harbor with trumpets and French horns, devised research projects probing the geology of Mars, served as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, sung, danced, debated and kept faith with one another.

No doubt, they’ve had their problems — like all the rest of us. But the moment of their graduation offers a chance to make a fresh start, remake the world, fall in love for the first time, grow in heart in soul.

Mercifully, this year’s graduates face a much better job market than their brothers and sisters did at any point in the past four years. The unemployment rate among college graduates is just 4 percent; the national rate is 8.1 percent. So, college — or technical and vocational training — remains the key to a more secure future.

But more importantly, the thirst for learning that ought to come with graduation will save anyone trying to get their bearings in these revolutionary times.

Some credible estimates suggest that two-thirds of students who start school this year, will end up working at jobs that don’t even exist today. The video game industry barely existed 25 years ago — now it rakes in more money than movies. The Internet has revolutionized research and access to knowledge. The astonishing evolution and spread of hand-held readers and computers connected to the cloud of programs and applications has only started to transform the way we work and wonder.

So we envy the discoveries that await the Class of 2012, even as we revel in their accomplishments with our fingers crossed for their safety.

We hate the thought that some of you will leave us to venture out into that thrilling, buzzing, whirling puzzle of a world. But we know that you’ll thrive and grow and discover new kingdoms — so long as you can climb to your feet when you fall and savor the wisdom of your scars.

You’ve done it — earned that degree, kept faith, accomplished this marvelous thing.

So welcome now to the fight. We have sore need of you — and so much yet to do.

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